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Amit Shah praises Naveen Patnaik for violence-free campaign

Shah's reference follows Modi's comment on 'excellent' planning for Cyclone Fani

By Our Special Correspondent in New Delhi

  • Published 16.05.19, 5:16 AM
  • Updated 16.05.19, 5:16 AM
Naveen Patnaik
Naveen Patnaik File picture

BJP president Amit Shah on Wednesday praised Odisha chief minister Naveen Patnaik, fuelling speculation that the repeat overture to a leader he had slammed earlier as “inefficient” was an attempt to humour a potential ally at the Centre.

Shah’s reference — however tangential — came a little over a week after Prime Minister Narendra Modi too had said the BJD leader’s planning before Cyclone Fani had made landfall was “excellent”.

Shah, who was addressing a media conference about the violence in Calcutta on Tuesday during his roadshow, cited the BJP’s election campaign in neighbouring Odisha and in other Opposition-ruled states and said there was no such trouble anywhere else.

Patnaik, however, was the only Opposition leader he chose to refer to by name. “Why is this happening only in a TMC-ruled state? There are different governments in India. In Odisha, there is Naveen babu’s administration. Nowhere has such incidents taken place,” Shah said.

The BJP chief had earlier likened the Patnaik government to a “burnt transformer” that should be thrown out and called the BJD dispensation “corrupt and inefficient” during the election campaign.

Modi had last week showered praise on Patnaik for the systematic way he had prepared for Cyclone Fani that struck parts of Odisha this month. That statement too had raised eyebrows given that it came soon after the two parties were engaged in the keenly contested polls for both the Lok Sabha and the Odisha Assembly.

“Naveen babu has done a good job…. In the middle of a busy election schedule, everyone concerned prioritised this (cyclone)... I must congratulate the state government, the authorities and those involved in evacuations. The work done is commendable. There has been an excellent coordination between the Centre and the state,” Modi had said after an aerial survey of cyclone-hit areas.

The two statements are being seen as an effort to keep Patnaik in good humour, just in case the BJP and the NDA fall short of the required 272 MPs. The BJD has remained unattached through the past five years Modi has ruled at the Centre although it did bail out the BJP government in crunch situations in Parliament.

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